Court orders Malawi ‘varsity students to vacate Chanco campus by Saturday: Injunction vacated

The High Court in Blantyre on Friday vacated the injunction obtained by Chancellor College and Polytechnic students against the closure of the two colleges and ordered the students to vacate the campuses by 4:00pm on Saturday May 25th, 2013.

Students from the two colleges want the injunction they obtained restraining the authorities to close the two colleges sustained.

But Judge Justice Hillie Potani decided otherwise and removed the injunction allowing the University Council to proceed with its action of closing down the two colleges after weighing options on whether the injunction should be sustained.

Justice Potani argued that the students did not follow legal procedures of obtaining the injunction, adding that it will be costly on the part of the University Council to keep the two institutions open when the scholars are on class-boycott.

However, lawyer representing the students, Lusiyano Mackeus refused to concede defeat, arguing the vacation of the injunction does not mean his clients have lost the case.

Chanco campus: Students told to vacate by Saturday

Chanco campus: Students told to vacate by Saturday

“The judge had to consider balance of convenience; he had to balance the probability of keeping the colleges open of vacate the injunction. But we can’t consider that we have lost the case. I will have to consult my clients on next action to be taken,” said Mackeus.

The High Court was mobbed by students largely from Polytechnic which is close-by just to witnesses their fate. But the news was not all that pleasant as they have to pack and leave the campus.

University Council spokesperson Akuzike Maliwichi told the media earlier this week that the council wants the two colleges to remain closed because they cannot manage to meet their demands.

“The university would like the colleges to remain closed because the students continue to boycott classes after being informed by the council that it would not be able to meet their two demands,” said Maliwichi, the University’s Assistant Registrar (Communications).

The council released a notice on May 10, 2013 informing the students that following their decision to boycott classes indefinitely, the council decided to close both colleges.

The Chancellor College (Chanco) and Polytechnics students are boycotting classes in demand of upkeep allowance increment and cutting-back of recently hiked tuition fees for mature and self-sponsored students.

The students are demanding an increment on their monthly meal and upkeep allowance from K40, 000 to K60, 000 per student, arguing the current allocation is not keeping pace with the economic situation Malawi is experiencing.

They are also demanding reduction of the yearly fees for mature and self-sponsored students, arguing the amount the colleges, constituencies of University of Malawi, are currently charging is excessive. Each student pays K250, 000 per year from K150, 000.

On the other hand, the students argue that the disagreements that have been there between the university and the students did not warrant the closure of the college.

However, the students on Tuesday had a press conference in Blantyre at which they accused the government of double standards.

The students have been boycotting classes to press the government to hike their upkeep allowance and reduce tuition for self-sponsored students.

The two colleges earlier this month petitioned President Joyce Banda as Chancellor of Unima to address their demands, arguing the current upkeep allowance allocation is not keeping pace with the economic situation Malawi is experiencing.

Last month President Joyce Banda after meeting with representatives of University Malawi promised to address the students’ concerns, and disclosed that she had formed a special committee to handle the issue.

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